It is no secret that both the ruling AIADMK and the Congress, which is part of the DMK front, is looking to rope in the DMDK, led by Vijaykant into their alliances. But on Friday, in a surprise move, the party founded by the actor-turned-politician announced that they will giving out applications to members who are looking to contest in the Lok Sabha Elections from February 24. Cadre were even informed that the submissions must be made by 5pm on March 5.
This move, comes at a time when seat sharing talks between the DMDK and the AIADMK-BJP-PMK combine have reached a standstill. According to reports, the DMDK is demanding atleast 7 Lok Sabha seats and one Rajya Sabha seat in the AIADMK alliance, putting it on par with the PMK. The ruling party which has teamed up with the BJP is, however, unready to give in to these demands.
"We can only give them up to 4 seats," says an AIADMK source, privy to discussions.
The DMK similarly, is unlikely to concede so many seats to a party which experts say, has an eroding vote base.
"This is merely a case of posturing," says senior journalist RK Radhakrishnan. "In the last Lok Sabha polls, the DMDK contested from 14 seats. So for any party to let go of the illusion of enormous support and grandeur is very difficult. The situation right now is such that they can't actually contest alone and just when things seemed to be at a standstill with the AIADMK, they got a lifeline when Congress leader Thirunavukkarasar visited them. So now, they are trying to make it look like they have a functioning party and cannot be cowed down by the AIADMK or any other party," he adds.
The DMDK made its debut in electoral politics by polling 8.38% votes and winning an assembly seat within a year of its inception in 2005. In the 2009 Lok Sabha polls it got a 10.38% vote share but in the 2016 assembly polls, its vote share dwindled down to 2.39%. Even getting that support is doubtful, experts say, this time around. To make matter worse, reports suggest that Vijaykanth's health will not allow him to campaign.
Despite this, on Friday, DMK chief MK Stalin visited the DMDK founder at his residence. And while he called it a courtesy visit, observers point out that the opposition party which had not held any discussions with the DMDK till now, was suddenly expressing its interest in roping in the party.
"In these upcoming Lok Sabha Election the margin of victory is likely to be between 5000-10,000 votes. So, in such a situation, if you don't want them to be an enemy, it is best to keep them on your side," says Ramu Manivannan, Madras University‚Äôs Head of the Political Science Department.